When we think of New Orleans we think of a party. They have a tradition in New Orleans that you may want to emulate; it’s called a Jazz Funeral and a second line parade. To celebrate their loved ones departure it’s popular to have what’s called a Jazz Funeral and when community members join in it’s called a second line parade or if you are the person joining in you are a “second liner”.
The tradition dates back to Africa and when slaves were brought to America they brought the tradition with them. The brass band starts the parade (amateur musicians), followed by the family of the departed and the pallbearers carrying the casket. Traditionally the parade would be from the church to the cemetery. More somber music would be played on the way to the cemetery but after the burial the band would strike up “When the Saints go Marching On” and the parade and party would begin. Picture trumpets and tubas playing, while family and friends are singing, dancing and hugging while they celebrate the life of the departed. Often a large portrait of their loved one is often carried. You would also see lots of parasols and colorful hats. You may be inspired by some of our popular funeral songs.
Sidney Bechet, the renowned New Orleans jazzman, after observing the celebrations of the jazz funeral, stated, “Music here is as much a part of death as it is of life.”
And just for the record, “When I die I want a Second Line”. It’s certainly my wishes and also a song by Kermit Ruffins